CHOCOLATE: Is it healthy or not?
Yes… and no. Some chocolate can be beneficial for some people. A recent Dutch study found health benefits from chocolate, such as lower blood pressure and less risk of heart attack.
Chocolate CAN be a powerful health food, as it is full of useful polyphenolic bioflavenoids. Cocoa beans contain flavanols, which are thought to increase nitric oxide in the blood and improve the function of blood vessels. You just need to be cautious about the other junk thrown in the mixture. The healthiest form of chocolate is raw cacao nibs. Unfortunately, only a few people can tolerate the taste – they are quite bitter.
If you want to eat chocolate and receive its benefits, here are some simple guidelines:
1. Eat only DARK chocolate. It has antioxidants and is far better than milk chocolate. Adding milk cancels out the chocolate's antioxidant effects. However, even if chocolate is dark, that does not necessarily mean it is healthy; most chocolate, dark or milk, is processed in ways that destroy the majority of the beneficial polyphenolic bioflavanoids.
2. Only eat chocolate if you're healthy. Chocolate, even if it is dark, still contains large quantities of sugar, which has a negative impact on the immune system. Chocolate should be avoided if you are sick.
3. Consume chocolate in moderation. If you are constantly craving sweets, you are likely not eating the correct balance of protein, fats and carbohydrates for your unique needs. If you tend to crave chocolate when you are upset, bored or lonely, then there may be underlying emotional issues that are causing you to seek comfort from chocolate.